LUDOLPHUS de SAXONIA (d.1377). Vita Christi, in Dutch: TBoeck van den Leven Jhesu Cristi. Antwerp: Claes Leeu, 20 November 1488.
Chancery 2° (254 x 179mm). Collation: [14 26 (1/1r title, woodcut, 1/1v chapter tabe, 2/1r subject tables)] a8 b-r6 r6 s6 s-v6 u6 x-z6 z6 \\i6 A-Y6 aa-pp6 (a1r text, pp6r colophon, pp6v blank). 398 leaves (of 402, lacking 1/3,4, E3, pp1). 40 lines and headline, double column, printed guide-letters. Type: 1:100G (text), 3:64G (some headings). 2- to 3-line initials in red. 146 woodcuts (of 148; BMC count), 25 of which are full-page, including numerous composite scenes, ALL COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND. (Title defective and mounted, obscuring all but woodcut on recto, H4, oo6 and final leaf defective, preliminary leaves remargined or rehinged, final quire rehinged, numerous repaired tears, small hole in L1, a few headlines shaved, some soiling and staining.) 16th- or 17th-century Dutch blindstamped calf, with IHS centerpiece and strapwork roll borders, blue edges (rebacked preserving part of original backstrip, lightly rubbed and scratched, minor cracks on upper cover).
Third edition in Dutch of the Speculum Vitae Christi, an expanded version of the Meditationes Vitae Christi, probably composed by Johannes de Caulibus, a fourteenth-century friar of San Gemignano in Tuscany, and here enlarged with additional material from the writings of St Bonaventure, Henry Suso, Peter Comestor, and the Golden Legend. The author was prior of the Carthusian house at Coblenz, 1343-48, then lived for some years in the Charterhouse at Mainz before moving to Strassburg, where he died in 1377. The work was enormously popular: indeed, probably the most widely read Biblical epitome of the late medieval period, rivalling the Bible itself in popularity. The Latin original was first printed in Strassburg in 1474, and German, Dutch, French, Catalan and Portuguese translations had appeared by the end of the fifteenth century. The woodcuts illustrating the life of Christ are mostly taken from Gerald Leeu's edition of 3 November 1487, with one substitution (Judas plotting with the Jews), and the additions of a full-page woodcut Salvator mundi on 12v and 8 narrow cuts for composite scenes, new to this edition. H 10049; BMC IX, 198 (IB. 49935); Polain(B) 2544; Campbell 1183; IDL 3019; CIBN L-280; Goff L-355.